Northwestern High teacher a finalist for S.C. teacher of the year

Staff reportsMarch 4, 2013 

Jeff Venables, a chemistry teacher at Northwestern High School, was named Monday as a finalist to be South Carolina’s teacher of the year.

The state Department of Education announced five teachers as finalists in the South Carolina State Teacher of the Year Program. The winner will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

The other finalists are:

• Lisa O. McCrea-Raiford, an elementary teacher at the Center of Innovative Learning at Pinecrest in Aiken

• Darleen S. Sutton, a first grade teacher at Pickens Elementary School in Pickens

• Paul D. Johnson, a biology teacher at Saluda High School in Saluda

• Trevor T. Ivey, a science teacher at Alice Drive Middle School, in Sumter

“After parents, the most important person in a child’s education is the man or woman at the front of the classroom,” State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said. The finalists “put the interests of their students first and lead classrooms where a personalized and customized approach to education produces outstanding results.”

The finalists were chosen from nominees representing 81 local school districts, the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Palmetto Unified School district, and the South Carolina Public Charter School District.

They will travel to Columbia for personal interviews with a seven-member state selection committee.

The finalists were chosen by a panel of educators and private citizens with no connections to the Department of Education.

The teacher of the year for 2013-14, who will be named May 1, will participate in a one-year residency program at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) at Winthrop University and serve as a statewide ambassador for the profession.

The winner also will receive a $25,000 cash award and a BMW to use for a year. The other finalists, dubbed “Honor Roll teachers,” each will receive $10,000.

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